Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
Important Community Meetings Coming Up and Many More Updates to Kick Off 2017
Happy New Year, Everyone –
I hope your Holiday Season was enjoyable and restful.
The required, every four-year Property Reassessment is coming this year and each Council Member had the opportunity to meet with Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite and members of her staff regarding the work they have done and the reassessment process coming up this year. They have also offered an opportunity for communities across Davidson County to have informational community meetings to help answer questions. Councilman Steve Glover organized a meeting on Thursday, January 12th at 6:30pm at the Hermitage Precinct for a presentation from the Property Assessors Office regarding the process throughout the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory area. (Councilman Glover also has a community meeting at 6pm prior to this about a development happening in his district.) As we know, Nashville is booming and property values are much higher than they were four years ago, so make every effort to attend this meeting and stay informed about the 2017 Property Reassessment.
Congratulations to 15th District neighbor and owner of Cumberland Hospitality Group, Barrett Hobbs, on his appointment by Mayor Barry to the Metro Historic Commission.
The 15th District has unfortunately been experiencing some trash pick-up issues over the past several months. Not the whole district has been affected, but random streets have been missed (me included) and collection times have been inconsistent. The collection before New Year’s was by far the worst experience the district experienced. I serve as Vice Chair of the Council’s Public Works Committee and so I have brought this issue up and asked to see 1) Red River Waste Solution’s contract with Metro so I can review it, and 2) Receive documentation associated with the procurement of the contract. I will be reviewing this and have also learned the Mayor’s administration and Public Works leadership has taken a more active role in ensuring they do not violate the contract any further. I also had a friendly, but frank conversation with President and COO Weldon Smith and members of their staff came to the Public Works Committee to hear from us. They have had some long-term key staff members leave the company and are rebuilding their team so we can return to safe, consistent, timely and efficient trash pick-up.
Short Term Rental Properties (STRP’s) is a hotly debated issue right now. After a judge found the STRP legislation vague and ruled against them, it was back to the drawing board. Legislation was filed (BL2016-492) to regulate them, but some feel it does not go far enough. There are basically two type of STRP’s – owner-occupied and non-owner occupied. Non-owner occupied STRP’s are owned sometimes by an owner from out of the country with a local management firm managing the rental. These types of scenarios have too often including here in Donelson, most notably the development along Miami Ave of homes specifically for STRP use. There have been instances where the home is rented out specifically to host large parties that are incredibly disruptive to what is usually a quiet neighborhood street. The Nashville Neighborhood Alliance has proposed an amendment to phase out STRP’s in R and RS zoning (single family residential). While I do understand the argument to not let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch, the situation has actually amounted to some negative impact to the character of residential neighborhoods. Some argue they pretty much serve as mini-hotels in the middle of neighborhoods. I am an advocate for our protecting neighborhoods, so I’m poised to support this amendment that will phase out non-owner occupied STRP’s specific to R and RS zoning over the next two years.
The update to Nashville’s Strategic Plan for Sidewalk and Bikeways (called Nashville WalknBike) is wrapping up and a draft will be presented on January 9th the public. Visit their website for a list of Community Meetings where team members from Public Works will present the draft plan, answer questions and take feedback. One of those meetings will be here in Donelson at Stanford Montessori School at 2417 Maplecrest Drive on Tuesday, January 10th at 7pm. I know this is a big issue for many of us in Donelson, so please plan to attend and be involved.
Metro Animal Care and Control will begin offering three-year rabies vaccine and three-year license at monthly low-cost rabies vaccination clinics starting on the third Saturday of the month in February (February 18, 2017) and go through November. Metro Animal Care and Control is located at 5125 Harding Place, Nashville, TN 37211.
With cold days ahead, it’s important to remember those that are homeless and need a shelter in times of cold weather. As you may have read in The Tennessean, Nashville’s homeless rate spiked 9.8% from 2015 to 2016. Before our December 20th Council Meeting, Open Table Nashville and the Mayor’s Office gave Council Members an update on current efforts and challenges this winter. To that end, it’s good to be knowledgeable about Nashville’s Cold Weather Response Plan, which is a collaborative effort across non-profit organizations and government. There is a How You Can Help section on their website.
Metro Public Works has completed the signal timing optimization project. Read about it here in the Nashville Business Journal. I know there are a few signals in particular for folks that don’t change fast enough. Hopefully this will help.
The 15th District has been very fortunate to receive four funded projects via Metro Arts Commission THRIVE Program over the past couple of years. Here’s a highlight:
- Artist Elizabeth Davidson was awarded $3,000 to activate community with her production of a one woman play based on the life of the indomitable American author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and her writing of her most famous novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
- Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) was awarded $3,000 to engage 4 community based organizations (3 labor unions and 1 university) with vested interest in workers’ rights in their original multimedia educational show A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement.
- Playwright Carolyn German was awarded $4,000 to work with McKendree Village, Donelson Public Library, and FiftyForward Donelson Station to coordinate opportunities for seniors to come and share their stories.
- Mural and graffiti artists J. Dante Bard and Troy Duff were awarded $4,000 each to activate two different sites at the pedestrian tunnel of the Two Rivers Parkway Greenway.
The $40 million Metro Water Services Cumberland Low Water Project along Elm Hill Pike, Donelson Pike and Lebanon Pike will be underway soon. You may have seen the large signs such as the one below. There is a 24/7 Project Hot Line – 615-953-2899 for up to date information as well as the website link above.